“Since the Green Aura, a Liberian ship, was able to safely reach its intended port of destination unimpeded, we believe that what happened should not be blown out of proportion or sensationalized,” National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement released November 3.
“An official report of this incident has been forwarded to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) for their appropriate action,” he added.
The national defense chief said that it has been reported in certain news outlets that a commercial vessel with Filipino crew aboard, the “Green Aura”, was repeatedly challenged by Chinese Coast Guard vessels near Bajo de Masinloc on September 30, 2019.
“We, however, would like to reiterate our call for all countries to exercise prudence and respect freedom of navigation and passage in the WPS. Bajo de Masinloc is well within the Philippine EEZ, and the 2016 arbitral ruling declared that it is a common fishing area,” he added.
He also noted that the Chinese government must respect international maritime laws if it wants to earn the respect of the international community.